Kerry and granddaughter, Holly.
What sort of person is going to love this character?
Anyone who has ever wanted a fresh start, who has a past they would rather forget, may find they wish they could be a little more like Sister Mary Amnesia. People who are burdened by the complexities of their own everyday lives, may find themselves longing to be a little more like this nun who just lives one day at a time, looks for the silver lining, and spends most of her time trying to help others.
How is this character like you?
I too have things in my past that I wish I could erase. Thankfully, I know that God no longer holds those things against me, because I have repented of them and trusted Christ’s death on the cross as payment for them. My gratitude for that reality in my life makes it much easier to look for the good in others, and strive to see them as God does. I try not to borrow trouble and just live each day as it comes, as Amnesia does.
She spends the majority of the musical not knowing who she is. I on the other hand, am all too well aware of who I am, a flawed human being seeking to live out a life that honors my Creator anyway. Amnesia’s motives and actions are in many ways more true and pure than my own, so it is rather refreshing to spend a few hours in her unassuming shoes.
Is it easier to play this character or to be yourself on stage?
It surprised me how easily this character blossomed within me the last time I played her. Perhaps we have more in common than I understand. My goal is an actor is to bring myself more on to the stage, through the roles I play . . . . to find the parts in me that line up with the person I am in the show. I want to move past the point of just putting on the behaviours that my character would do, and move towards being in their heart, feeling what they would feel throughout the show.
What do you love about this character?
Her sweetness. Sister Mary Amnesia takes everything at face value, and sees the best in everyone, except perhaps Sister Mary Annette. She lives in the moment, which I suppose is easier when you have no idea who you are, where you came from, or why you are where you are (living in a convent, wearing a habit . . . . ). It is such fun to travel with her on the road to discovering who she actually is!
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
The first time I played this part I would have said singing the duet with myself and my puppet alter ego, Sister Mary Annette. It requires two different personalities and voices singing the same song. But now I know I can do that. I think the challenge will be to keep Sister Mary Amnesia real – not to let her become a caricature, but be a real person, on the road to discovering herself, through her relationship with God and her sister.
Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
How about Amy Adams? I have seen that sweet quality in some of the roles she has played, but also the spunk to bring across the puppet duet and the big revelation song.
What makes a good scene partner?
An actor who is fully invested in their character – who becomes the role they are cast in. Getting that authenticity on stage, gives you all the emotions you need to respond in kind, fully authentic to your own role. It is a joy to work with each and every actor in this show, because they all work this way. This is going to be one heck of a show!!
If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Oh dear, this is a tough call. I am going to go with Mary Steenburgen. She was born in the mid-west, as was my mom; she started dance lessons at age four, as did I; she sings, and is a little quirky, but sweet, which I think would suit my life story. She is only four years younger than I am as well – but she has held up awfully well, and is married to the handsome Ted Danson. Still, I am sure she could play happily single as well!
Who do you look up to (as an actor/director/etc.)?
It is always a great pleasure to work under the leadership of our director Dawn Doherty. She is gracious and giving, encouraging while still challenging us to improve our skills and thus the show! As an actor, I have always admired the skills of Sally Field. Seeing her do the movie Sybil (1976), in her younger days, was an incredible experience.
What’s your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
After a morning of getting my spiritual battery charged at my church, I love to take a nap in front of the TV, with House and Garden TV on in the background. By Sunday, I am usually pretty pooped, so I don’t tend to plan big activities then. And after the nap, a nice long walk around my neighborhood hills listening to Hooked on Classics tracks!!
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Lots of the time I just watch what else is going on on the stage. Plus as the music director – if there is a song involved, then I am there checking melodies and harmonies and the like. If I truly have a break, I probably am checking messages, emails or Facebook posts for a few minutes – checking in with the rest of the world.
Who’s the funniest person in the cast in real life?
In the women’s cast, I vote for Lanette Gutman. She can be a little “out there” and scares me at times – never knowing what might come next, but she is funny!
In the men’s cast, I’ve got to go with Roger Sloan. He is just a very funny man. Perhaps that is why they are both cast as the Reverend Mother – they are natural comediennes!!
If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next?
That is an easy one – Light in the Piazza, with myself in the role of Margaret.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
Take a drink of water. In all candor – I also look in the mirror one last time if there is one there, just to make sure I am ship shape before I hit the boards.
On the Edge Theatre Productions at the Laguna Hills Community Center is delighted to present onstage in February a musical comedy that will tickle your funny bone – NUNSENSE opens Saturday, February 7 and runs through Sunday, February 15, 2015.
Female cast includes: Lanette Gutman from Mission Viejo, Susan Lopez from Laguna Niguel, Kerry Hedley from Irvine, and Rebecca Rubino and Teri Griffin from Lake Forest. This cast performs Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. (doors open for this performance at 1 p.m.); Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.; and Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.
Male cast includes: Roger Sloan from Mission Viejo , Doug Harris and Alex Delahunty from Laguna Hills, Jeff Olsen from Austin,Texas, and Parker Griffin from Lake Forest. This cast performs Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; and Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.
Performances will be held at Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Seat reservations can be made through February 4 by calling 949-707-2692 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. After Feb. 4, tickets can also be purchased at the door.
More information about On the Edge Theatre Productions go to www.otetheatre.com.